If the Queen of England booked a cruise on the Amazon, it would be on this boat. Not that our trip was without glitches - the transfer from Iquitos Airport to the boat was tiring (while waiting for the boat to be prepared, we had a disorganized lunch and city tour), also our shower leaked a bit, and the engine noise at night was quite loud in Cabin 202. But the bed was huge, the linens fine, and once we boarded our little expedition skiffs with our guides to view the wildlife daily, all of these annoyances were forgotten.
We really visited the Amazon, while still feeling that we were sailing in luxury. We saw macaws, iguana, monkeys, local fishermen and villagers, pink dolphins, anaconda, giant lily pads, and more. Our guides were truly local - born here and very knowledgeable. We took a short swim in the black waters one day, and also caught piranha which the chef fried up and presented beautifully for our dinner one night. The Queen would do fine on this cruise because the physical exertion required is minor except for the jungle walks. The jungle walk and village visit were somewhat taxing (but not impossible) for older passengers.
The big decision for an Amazon trip is Rainy Season -or- Dry Season. Sailings during the dry season will have more jungle hikes, sailings during the wet season will have more skiff boat excursions - but also more drenching rain. I felt our trip in mid-July was a good compromise between wet and dry season - mostly boat excursions, but at least one jungle hike. We saw butterflies and a lot of plants on our (muddy) jungle hike that we would not have seen during boat excursions only. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those. August would probably have been too dry.
Note - There is no TV, no internet, and only an occasional cell phone signal on the boat. You'll have plenty to see just watching the forest go by outside your wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, but if you must have a cell signal - ask the crew, they know when "bars" may appear - for an hour or two, every couple of days.
The food is good, the crew is extremely attentive, and the drink bar is almost always open. We met interesting people from around the globe on board. Dress code was casual. We were over-prepared with our hiking boots for the jungle - the ship provided rubber boots for the one day we needed them. We also felt over-prepared with medications and mosquito repellent, but of course OVER is better than UNDER in this case.
If you're looking for really difficult hikes, strenuous sightseeing, and significant physical exertion - this is NOT your boat. If you're looking for an active but not severe experience, while still seeing the real Amazon - this is it. The sunrises and sunsets may bring you to tears. Sitting in our skiff on the last evening, sipping mimosas under the stars and silently listening to the Amazonian wildlife symphony is an experience I'll never forget.
Well done, Aria! Thank you. :)
Cabin 202 is on the top passenger (second) deck, at the back of the ship. There is somewhat significant engine noise in this cabin during the night as the boat moves to the next location. My husband actually found the engine noise pleasant, like nice white noise, and he slept great the whole trip. I did not sleep as well and would have preferred a cabin away from the engines. This cabin is also at the intersection of passageways from the dining room, ship store, and stairways, so there is sometimes a bit of passenger and crew talking noise in the corridor nearby.
We liked being on the higher deck for the view, but if we had to choose again, I would try to choose a more forward cabin, even if it had to be on the lower deck to avoid the noise problems.
The Cabin was spacious, with the best feature being the panoramic windows. There is no balcony, but the never-ending view is great nonetheless.
The bath has a reasonable shower and toilet behind a sliding door, with a vanity area in the main room. There are some drawers and cabinets in the vanity area, and a hairdryer is provided.
The bed is large and comfortable, and we stored all our suitcases underneath. It worked pretty well to use the suitcases like drawers, never really unpacking, just sliding them out and in as needed. There is also an armoire-type cabinet with hanging space, shelves, and a safe for valuables. Robes and slippers are provided.
There are only 16 cabins on this boat, and I believe they are all identical except for location. Because of the engine noise, I would choose 205, 206, 207, or 208 if I had those options. (Try to avoid 101, 102, 201, 202.) If my cabin - 202 - is the only cabin left - GO ANYWAY - just take your earplugs if you are sensitive to noise while sleeping. :)